Leaving the most important foreign engagement of the U.S. in recent times into the hands of CENTCOM, which was involved in a scandal in Syria and Iraq in 2015, is worshipping the military in the eyes of many Americans
Some say President Donald Trump and his administration are in meltdown. But he appears confident as he has been discussing how much ratings he will get if he is impeached. He said the television ratings would be higher than those of any other impeachment in history.
He also said, "Washington is run by a small group with failed values who think they know everything," and that he needs no lecture from "Washington on how to lead our lives." He was addressing the graduates of Christian school Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia; where he declared, "We don't worship Washington. We worship God."
Then one has to ask him: Is the Pentagon not Washington? Leaving the most important foreign engagement of the U.S. in recent times in the hands of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) — which was involved in a scandal in 2015 regarding the manipulation of intelligence estimates about the wars in Syria and Iraq — is worshipping the military in the eyes of many Americans.
CENTCOM's top commander is now running the whole U.S. armed forces; he has priorities set for him by former President Barack Obama: to win the war against Daesh without having any American casualties. This was the election time strategy for the Democrats, Obama and Hillary Clinton. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and CENTCOM know very well that you cannot create a regular army from PKK terrorists to fight a regular war. They are the so-called mountain guerillas of the PKK with no fighting experience other than "strike and run" operations in Turkey.
CENTCOM people, in their briefings, call them "Syrian Kurdish forces" and tell the president that fortified with heavy armor and guns, and with a good command provided by U.S. personnel, these civilians can defeat Daesh terrorists. This plan in neither answers the worries of some U.S. allies, like Britain and Turkey, nor addresses the serious question about the aftermath of the Raqqa operations.
Perhaps since Turkey's refusal to take part in the Iraq operations, CENTCOM's feelings towards Turkey have not been exactly warm. The field reports even indicate a certain degree of hostility. They keep promising that the armor and heavy armaments are not going to end up in the hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey. What are the guarantees that is not going to happen? It happened before and it is going to happen again. The People's Protection Unit's (YPG) holding those guns belong to well-known PKK members.
The 2018 elections are approaching fast and the GOP's challenges ahead are enormous; they will test the president in unimaginable ways. That was the report from the Republican National Committee's spring meeting Coronado, CA. Losing against Daesh is one possibility. But gambling with them is losing Turkey definitely.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during his brief U.S. visit, is going to meet President Trump. He said their talks could have the significance of a period not a comma. Commas as we know indicate a brief pause; but a period in line with Turkey's requests would help the region entire region.
About the author
Hakkı Öcal is an award-winning journalist. He currently serves as academic at Ibn Haldun University.